Master art printer Richard Duardo, who was a pivotal figure in the Chicano art community in Los Angeles, died Tuesday at home in Los Angeles. He was 62.
A gregarious, prominent figure in the downtown arts scene, he worked as a printer with numerous world-famous artists, including David Hockney, Keith Haring and Banksy. And his own creations — silk-screen portraits of Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Duke Ellington, Che Guevara, Lauren Bacall and many others — were highly praised. But it was his support for young artists, especially in the Chicano community, that brought forth dozens of online tributes after his death and a growing memorial of candles, photos and other objects outside his downtown print studio, Modern Multiples.Duardo was born May 15, 1952, in Boyle Heights. He graduated from Franklin High School in Highland Park and studied art at Pasadena Community College and UCLA, where he got a master’s degree in fine art.
But after college he felt that he was in danger of straying from his roots. “I was determined to find myself again, and who I really was as a Chicano,” he said in a videotaped interview for KCET. “I went straight back to the neighborhood I was born in.” After working with the famed Self-Help Graphics arts center that specializes in printmaking, Duardo was a co-founder in the late 1970s of the Centro de Arte Público, a highly political arts collective in Highland Park.